October 3rd, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

Sure, the total number is relatively small, but comparatively it's a huge difference if you are nearly 50% as likely to get a call as an "average" conference team.  If it was, say, 10 penalties a year different it would be so insanely obvious we wouldn't be having this discussion.


October 3rd, 2018 at 4:42 PM ^

But with a tiny sample it doesn't take much random variability to get to an outlier. And there can be other factors. Michigan blitzes its linebackers a lot from weird places. Don Brown is fantastic at getting free running linebackers in for sacks but those plays are never going to generate a hold. On the flip side the defensive ends are asked to do more and we haven't had a true edge speed rusher who is most likely to get a hold call against. Taco, and Wormley, and Gary are all incredible football players, but they are a different type of defensive end than joey bosa is for example. When you are talking about 2 penalties per year and you are shifting 10% of sacks from the dline to linebackers that explains part of the difference already. 


October 3rd, 2018 at 6:22 PM ^

But every team in the conference doesn't play the same style of front 7 defense either, and yet none of then have this dichotomy.  Take, for example, IU.  They've had 27 accepted holds over the last 4 years and their leaders in sacks have typically been linebackers or tackles, and save for one year where their leader had 9.5 they haven't come all that close to being a conference leader.  

Another leader in holds is Purdue, which hasn't finished in the top 50 on sacks in the nation over that span, yet is 2nd in holds in the conference.  Maybe their system is designed to get them really close to QBs without actually tackling them, but that seems unlikely.

I don't think it's some grand conspiracy, but I also don't think it's how Michigan plays defense that explains why they are demonstrably behind everyone else in this conference in terms of getting holding calls.


October 4th, 2018 at 12:23 PM ^

The average number of plays defensed per game in the NCAA is 70. Over 2/3 of teams in D1 fall between 65-75.


Indiana gets 1.38 holds per 100 plays defended. Indiana get ~0.97 holds per game.


Michigan gets 0.76 holds per 100 plays defended. Michigan gets ~0.53 holds per game.


Less than 1/2 of 1 penalty per game.  A total of 4 penalties difference between Indiana and Michigan over a 9 game conference schedule.


October 4th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

" Four seasons is a big enough sample, right? "


Highly unlikely when the delta between the best and worst rates in the conference amount to less than 1/2 of 1 penalty per game.


We're talking about the difference (on average) between your opponent getting called for 0.53 holds per game (Michigan) vs. 0.92 holds per game (Indiana).,


True Blue Grit

October 3rd, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

Statistical improbability?  Look at the graph from yesterday's board post.  Michigan's position on that graph is so many standard deviations away from the norm, it's virtually impossible - not improbable.  Anyone who understands statistics (and they must have someone at the Big Ten office who does) would recognize something is rotten in Denmark.  


October 3rd, 2018 at 7:58 PM ^

It's easy to become an outlier when officials routinely flag penalties that don't occur. And on Saturday, the referee threw two flags on penalties that you'd need a Ken Burns documentary to dissect in detail and give adequate treatment to support.

They called at least three questionable if not unsupported penalties on Michigan that charged Rashan Gary with hands-to-the-face, a 15-yard markoff leading to a first half field goal, the side judge (apparently, since no else came forward) threw the flag on Higdon after getting tackled on a fake handoff for offensive holding, and they called an illegal block in the back on a phantom David Long for another penalty that never occurred on a nice punt return by Peoples-Jones.

And Long was also flagged in the endzone on a play where both receiver and defender were wrestling with each other before the ball arrived. It was an iffy call, at best.

Now that is three questionable, phantom or iffy penalties that led to poor field positiion and markoffs totaling more than 45 yards benefitting the opposition. And Northwestern was called for two penalties all game long. And one of the penalties, according to Fox, resulted only because Michigan's sideline pushed for the call of defensive holding at the LOS.

So, what does that say? It says this: pressure works, unless you are Michigan. 

We have apparently understimated the level of resentment against Harbaugh after his infamous blowup in Columbus, culminating an entry into the league in which he routinely berated officials on TV with grand relish. You've seen his change in demeanor. It has not reflected a change in shitty officiating against his team, or at least politifcal revenge. Because what else can you conclude based on the available record?

And there's the bottom line: Big Ten officiating sucks. Last week against Nebraska, John O'Neill's crew, supposedly one of the best in the conference,  confirmed a missed call for facemask only after a Jumbotron replay because nobody flagged what thousands in the crowd saw without mistakable clarity.

Beyond that, the crew was corrected twice by the booth on rules applications after initially announcing a misapplication of rules. We are not talking about judgment here. We are talking about misapplication of a rule. That can never happen to a lead official in a game of any significance. That is grounds for dismissal, Seriously. You can fuck up on judgment, not rules application, no matter how arcane. But that is where we are, just hoping the officials don't prevent us from a great season.


October 4th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

In terms of holds called against opponents - Michigan is almost exactly 2 standard deviations away from the average.


In a 14 team league, assuming a normal distribution - you would expect:

9.6 teams between 0-1 standard deviation.

3.8 teams between 1-2 standard deviation.

0.6 teams between 2-3 standard deviation.


Actual distribution:

9 teams between 0-1 standard deviation.

4 teams between 1-2 standard deviation.

1 team between 2-3 standard deviation.


Of course, it doesn't actually appear to be a normal distribution...


October 3rd, 2018 at 3:49 PM ^

Hello Raymond_RedWings,

A cursory review of your posting history revealed a whole bunch of posts just like these.  As such, I've blocked your account and if you wish to return to posting, you'll have to do so under another username.  Please feel free to read the MGoBlog FAQ before your return - it is full of helpful information for new users.  Have a great day!



October 3rd, 2018 at 2:15 PM ^

The graph is very real but its also a tiny sample size per year. In 2016, our best year defensively we averaged about 3.5 sacks per game. Literally 5 extra hold calls over the entire year would have brought Michigan back into the pack I think. Bama has had the same bad luck, is their an institutional bias against Bama football?


October 3rd, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

AK yeah...I'd say there could be similar bias trying to keep Bama in "check" by screwing them...difference being, UM has been struggling for about...ten to twelve years, whereas Bama has NFL size and capable talent and can easily overcome a lack of penalties by you know...scoring touchdowns with two qbs who were both better than anything we've had in say...12 years.